Friday, April 25, 2008

Vanhoozer on Inerrancy

My friend Guy Davies sent me this excellent quote from Kevin Vanhoozer on inerrancy:

The basis for the doctrine of biblical inerrancy is located both in the nature of God and in the Bible's teaching about itself. First, if God is perfect – all knowing, all wise, all-good – it follows that God speaks the truth. God does not tell lies; God is not ignorant. God's Word is thus free from all error arising either from conscious deceit or unconscious ignorance.

Such is the unanimous confession of the Psalmist, the prophets, the Lord Jesus and the apostles. Second, the Bible presents itself as the Word of God written. Thus, in addition to its humanity (which is never denied), the Bible also enjoys the privileges and prerogatives of its status as God's Word. God's Word is thus wholly reliable, a trustworthy guide to reality, a light unto our path.


Augustinian Successor said...

RYes, Scripture is self-attesting and is its own witness. It follows therefore that Scripture alone is the divine revelation, and by extension the only infallible authority. Extra-scriptural revelation destroys the unique claim of Scripture to infallibility.

Augustinian Successor said...

Inspiration constitutes the means for the formal production of Scripture. Hence, inspiration ensures that Scripture is capable of functioning as the textual bearer of divine revelation as having materially originated via different modes.

Dan Schaertel said...

Scripture is not self-attesting as you think. First of all, since the "Bible" as we know it didn't exist when it was being written there is no reference to the "Bible" at all. It doesn't tell us what writings are to be included in "God's Word". The Psalmists wrote when the prophets hadn't even been born yet. Jesus never tells us to write or read a "Bible". He refers to the "Law and the Prophets". But even the writings of his day are not consistent. Some consider the Old testament to be 39 books, some 46 books, some 22 books, etc.. So who is correct? Does the Bible tell us? No, I didn't think so. Last I knew neither Jesus, nor the Apostles, nor any of the prophets ever gave us a list. So you will just have to accept this stuff on faith. And that is what the scriptures say.

Augustinian Successor said...

Indeed, Scripture is self-attesting or else faith collapses inward - curvatus in se. Faith is not a "quality" intrinsic to the sinner; it is a gift which not so much given (i.e. infused) but created by the alien Word.

The basis for the efficacy of the alien Word whether as Law or Gospel is divine character of Scripture itself. Plenary inspiration means that any portion of Scripture is self-attesting. To deny this proposition is to deny the UNITY of Scripture.

Think about it ... the Book of Revelation is an integral portion of Scripture. Adding to or substracting from the Book of Revelation IS adding at the same time to the entire corpus of sacred writings.

So, at the end of the day, Scriptures's self-attestation entails that faith is NOT blind ... a leap into the dark, as you seem to think.

You see, Scripture is not the medium by which we encounter God. In Scripture, we ... encounter ... God Himself, through His Son by the Spirit. The text is not a sign pointing to some deeper truth, which needs deciphering. But the Spirit of God is in the text to kill and make alive. In other words, contrary to the mystics - medieval or modern - the "meaning" or "sense" of the text is to be sought in what it DOES to you and I.

So, what is the implication? Scripture is neither a book of myths or an esoteric text, but the living Word of God sacramental proclaimed in its oral form.

Charles Savelle said...

Do you know the source of this quote?